Council chiefs have to save another 7m

By Jonny Bonell Friday 17 January 2014 Updated: 17/01 09:56

COUNCIL chiefs face having to make almost £7million of additional savings next year it has been revealed.

Originally Worcestershire County Council planned to trim £22.6million from its budget in 2014/15, but has since announced for a number of reasons the figure has risen to £29million.

The total savings the council needs to make by 2017/18 has also increased from about £98million to £103million.

The figures were revealed at a cabinet meeting last Thursday (January 9) to discuss the council’s draft budget.

The rise is being blamed on a number of factors including a £1.5million rise in costs due to inflation and an £800,000 increase in waste disposal costs while the council has also lost £600,000 in educations grants as a result of schools converting to academies. Its funding from the Government is also £1.4million less than expected.

The council also says it needs to strengthen the budget for looked after children by £3.5million due to rising demand.

Council leader Adrian Hardman said: “2013 has proved to be a really challenging year for financial planning within local government. The council will need to ensure we can continue to deliver services within a continued tight financial settlement.

“We will continue to invest into key areas of Worcestershire’s infrastructure.”

So far the council has identified about £61million of savings up until 2016/17 and is developing plans to fill the gap.

From April the council will receive some £12million less in government funding compared with the previous year, a drop of 14 per cent.

Despite that Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for health and well-being on the council, said he believed they had done the best job possible with recent cuts.

“I believe Worcestershire County Council have a very good track record of listening to the public and community at large,” he said.

“Worcestershire is proud of its record so far in managing to reduce its budget in the way we have.

“Look at other areas around the Midlands and the large savings that they have had to make.”

The council is also proposing to support Worcestershire’s economy by investing in key infrastructure projects, as well as spending £3million more on adult social care and an extra £500,000 on new child social workers.

The budget will be approved at a full council meeting in February.

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